The campaign for 5th District Santa Cruz County Supervisor took an ugly turn as information came to light this week that candidate Eric Hammer was untruthful about being awarded a degree from San Francisco State University.
On an application Hammer submitted in January 2011 to Santa Cruz County to become a member of the Santa Cruz County Treasury Oversight Commission, he claimed to have received a Bachelor of Science in hospitality/business from San Francisco State in 2000.
According to the university’s admission records, however, Hammer attended San Francisco State from 1995 to 1999 but did not earn a degree.
“I should have done a better job representing myself,” Hammer said Tuesday, Oct. 30. “I’ve earned all the credits and then some. Instead of calling it a B.S., I should have said that I earned all the credits for a B.S. I look forward to working through the process and getting the final paperwork.”
Hammer was named to the Treasury Oversight Commission last year and is a member until 2013.
On his application to the commission, Hammer also listed that he received an associate degree from Cabrillo College in 1995. The community college verified that Hammer was awarded that degree.
Neither San Francisco State nor Cabrillo College officials would release specific information about credits earned, citing privacy restrictions.
In November 2010, Hammer submitted a separate application to the Santa Cruz County Local Agency Formation Commission as a special district alternate member representing the Boulder Creek Recreation and Parks District.
In that application, Hammer stated that “all coursework (is) completed for B.S. in Hospitality Management (with a minor in Business Administration); awaiting corrected documentation regarding transferred credits to finalize degree”.
On the LAFCO application, Hammer also claimed an A.S. in Business/Hospitality Management from Cabrillo.
The actual degree, according to Cabrillo, was Culinary Arts/Hospitality Management, not “Business/Hospitality Management” as Hammer claimed on the application.
The McPherson campaign jumped at the information, releasing a scathing mailer that arrived in mailboxes Oct. 29. It pointed out the inconsistencies in the application Hammer submitted for the Treasury Oversight Commission position and a candidate profile he did with Scotts Valley Patch, a local-news reporting website, in which he also claimed to have graduated from the university with a bachelor’s degree in 2000.
The campaign has picked up intensity in recent weeks with letters to the editor, campaign signs, mailers and advertisements. In those materials, Hammer supporters have tried to paint McPherson as a career politician who does not represent the San Lorenzo Valley, while McPherson’s supporters have emphasized his long-term success working in the state Legislature and as California secretary of state. The recent mailer was the first outright attack aimed at Hammer.
Last week, a Santa Cruz man who gave $250 to the Hammer campaign was caught vandalizing McPherson signs. Hammer denied personally knowing him.
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